And so another Shark Week comes to an end. We had some real highs, both on the science side of things and in the realm of pop culture, and some real lows, lows so deep we exceeded the decompression limits and we’ve switched to the pony bottle just to stay alive. Some of these lows were pretty spectacular programming misfires (Tyson vs Jaws) that failed to read the room that is 2020, others were just run-of-the-mill “shark attack du jour” yellow journalism, that was thankfully relegated to the time it could do the least damage (hey, they had to fill those 11 o’clock hours on Friday and Saturday somehow).
The highs? Wow! I hope we return to the Seven Mile Bridge and learn more about the hammerheads and the bounty of life that call those pilings home. The Bermuda Triangle AND sharks? Let’s do that again! Will Smith’s Off the Deep End was off the hook, and Adam Devine and the Workaholics crew should come back for more.
In 2021, I hope we see some REAL representation on this show. As Catherine Macdonald wrote in her eye-opening article, The Dark Side of Being a Female Shark Researcher: “Shark Week’s choice of hosts and featured experts systematically enhances or upholds the authority of white male scientists while rarely incorporating the voices or featuring the work of women or people of color. Those choices have real, meaningful effects on shark science, because appearing on Shark Week is a professional opportunity.”
We all have a ways to go, including yours truly, when it comes to incorporating other voices and not making SCUBA into some “knife clenched between your teeth, I’LL SHOW THAT BULL SHARK WHO’S GOT MORE TESTOSTERONE” activity. And Shark Week must travel along that path too.
Naked and Afraid of Sharks 2
Who’s this show for, really? I mean, I get it, everyone wants to prove how tough they were, but for the most part, even our primitive cave ancestors knew the value of a loin cloth or pair of pants. For a show that obviously exists for some reason, it was frankly a big snoozefest. I can’t imagine the crap the “Wild Twins” of New Zealand had to put up with (oh wait, I can, because one dude on the show was incredibly creepy). At one point, one of the dudes is fishing for information on one of the twins availability, because there’s nothing hotter than hooking up while covered in grime, shit, piss, and sweat as sandflies chew you up, right? The palpable disappointment as he was shot down was gross. There was pole spear fishing and sharks, and I didn’t learn a damn thing, and frankly I just zipped through the last 30 minutes because other than having sharks in it, this was as tangential as you can get to Shark Week. Other than some cool footage of sharks, and the Wild Twins impressive survival skills, unnecessary.
That’s it! Thanks for following along with me this week, and thanks as always to the Nerdvana crew for having me as your Senior Ocean Affairs Correspondent! See you next Shark Week, next year!